So Long For Now, Bali

We’ve spent the last eight weeks in blissful Bali, and now it’s time to move on.

I don’t regret for a minute staying in Bali for two months rather than one – it was exactly what we needed.  There is so much to love about the landscape, the culture and the cuisine here.  We have every intention of returning to this paradise in the future, but Bali is fairly difficult (and expensive) to reach from the US.  In all reality, it might be a while before we make it back.  But know this: we will be back.  A place like this is too good to visit just once.

I do wish we had a few more days – three more to be exact.  Nyepi, the Balinese Hindu version of New Year’s is celebrated March 11-12th, and we’re missing what appears to be an interesting celebration.  On the night before Nyepi, everyone collects in the streets, plays lots of music and parades around ogoh ogohs, which are large constructions of monsters intended to rile up the evil spirits.  But starting at 6am on the day of Nyepi, the island goes quiet – no work, no travel, no electricity.  Even the international airport closes (think about it – that’s a big deal.)  Many people fast and meditate on the day, and there are police stationed outside to make sure no one is out on the streets disrupting the peace.  Even tourists are required to stay in their hotels, though they are allowed to use electricity and internet.  I believe the idea is to draw the attention of evil spirits to Bali overnight, and then when they arrive the next morning to find the island quiet and still, the spirits will believe that it has been abandoned.  They will then leave Bali alone for the next year.  I’ve seen several ogoh ogoh’s being constructed in our neighborhood and they look pretty cool – I wish we were going to be around to see them paraded in the streets.  But alas, our visa runs out on March 8th, and we’ve extended our stay as long as the Balinese government will allow.  So off we go.

For the next three weeks we’ll be traveling through Singapore, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.  It may be a little while before I get a chance to blog anything, but I’ll be back soon with reports from Southeast Asia.

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